Charlene Reaveley was hugging and comforting Lorraine Cruz at the side of the Lougheed Highway shortly before the two were killed in an alleged hit-and-run driving crash, court heard on the opening day of trial for the man accused in their deaths.
The trial for Cory Sater began Monday in New Westminster court with the accused pleading not guilty to all 10 charges against him.
In opening statements, Crown counsel Chris McPherson also described the alleged series of events from Feb. 19, 2011, leading up to and following the crash.
Sater is facing 10 charges related to the crash including two counts each of dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death and causing an accident resulting in death.
According to Crown, Cruz and her boyfriend Paulo Calimbahin were driving along the Lougheed Highway southbound just after midnight when she lost control of the vehicle and hit a concrete meridian near Pitt River Road.
Reaveley, her husband Dan and two friends came upon the single-vehicle crash and got out to help at the side of the road.
It’s shortly after, Crown alleged, that a white Jeep Cherokee driven by Sater struck Reaveley, Cruz and Calimbahin and then took off.
Cruz and Reaveley were killed instantly, while Calimbahin was seriously injured.
Court also heard a frantic 911 call made from a friend of Reaveley’s that captured the moment of the crash.
The call, which lasted a few minutes, was between Kimberley Moore and a 911 dispatcher.
Moore can be heard discussing the initial crash with the dispatcher.
She tells the dispatcher the airbags in the Pathfinder had deployed, but everyone was out of the truck.
Only a few moments later, a thud could be heard in the background of the recording, which is believed to be the moment of impact.
Moore begins screaming.
“Oh no, oh no,” she repeated.
Moore tells the dispatcher her girlfriend just got run over and that the driver took off.
The dispatcher then attempts to get more details from the caller.
Moore explained the two women were lying unconscious in the middle of the road.
The dispatcher reassures her help is on the way, while Moore mentions Reaveley was hugging “the girl” before impact.
At one point you can hear a man crying and shouting in the background: “she’s dead.”
“My best friend is dead,” Moore said.
The call, which is part of the evidence introduced by Crown, brought family members in the gallery to tears.
“It’s certainly difficult,” McPherson said of the recording while speaking to the media during a break Monday in the trial.
“The families must have had a difficult time listening to it.”
Sater, who was dressed in a grey suit with short hair, also broke down at one point from the prisoner’s box.
McPherson also said Crown would be leading evidence from the pub the night of the incident on the number of drinks that were on Sater’s tab.
Crown is alleging Sater’s tab, from the Lougheed Bar and Grill in Burnaby, included six rye and cokes and two shots called Jagerbombs.
McPherson also said evidence will be presented based on witnesses that the accused ran a red light at the intersection of Lougheed Highway and Pitt River Road.
Crown said the case will also focus on where the vehicle and Sater allegedly went after the crash.
In all, the Crown is expected to call 20 witnesses and take two weeks to present its case.
The trial is scheduled to last a month.
© Copyright 2013